Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Illamasqua Nomad Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Nomad Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Nomad Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Nomad Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “bright jade” with a glossy finish. It’s a vibrant aqua-green with just a little too much green and aqua in it to be a true mint green. It’s like the lightest, brightest jade. China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint is much, much lighter. MAC Peppermint Patti is the closest shade I could think of, though it’s not as bright. Essie Turquoise & Caicos is bluer.

Illamasqua makes one of my favorite polish formulas, not just because the formula itself is excellent with impeccable wear (it’s one of the longest-wearing formulas on me–I’ve literally wore a color for 10-14 days with minor tip wear), but they often set and create trends and do so at a much more palatable price point than some higher-end brands like MAC, NARS, Dior, Chanel, and so forth.  Nomad is no exception.  I wore this shade for seven days with barely any tip wear and no chipping.

Nomad turns opaque in two coats, and the formula is a dream to work with–not too thick or too thin.  It flowed fluidly across the nail and yielded even color, though it did take a little longer to dry than the average polish.  The finish is slightly glossy, but I’d still recommend using a shiny top coat for a truly glossy finish.

The Glossover

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Nomad

A+
Nomad is a gorgeous shade that's appropriate for both spring and summer (though, perhaps, an edgy spring shade!). The formula is every bit as lovely to work with as the color is.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

bareMinerals bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo
bareMinerals bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo

bareMinerals bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) won’t be available until May, but hang onto your seats, because it’s such a lovely duo. This is one of the best eyeshadow formulas on the market, and bareMinerals didn’t let us down with their expansion of their Ready line-up. Alter Ego consists of two shades: Wicked and Daring.

Wicked is a springy yellow-tinted green with a frosted finish. It has excellent pigmentation and goes opaque with very little product needed. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is darker, more olive green. MAC Juxt is yellower, a bit darker. Inglot #364 is very similar but a matte variation. It’s a warm, yellow-based green, but subtly done–it’s not as yellow or as warm as other shades that might be similar.

Daring is this rich, smoky purple with subtle red undertones and almost bluish tint. The color payoff is amazing–I couldn’t believe it–it was so soft, smooth, and rich. MAC Indigo Noir is similar but matte. MAC Imaginary is purpler and brighter. MAC Starless Night is similar but more shimmered, less muted.

What makes the formula impressive is the pigmentation; both shades in this duo were intensely pigmented with a soft, smooth texture that was dense and buttery without being so soft it was crumbly or powdery.  This texture and payoff translates seamlessly to the lids during application.  They’re soft and blendable.  Without a primer, it wears for over eight hours with no noticeable issues–after ten, there is the faintest fading around the crease.  With a primer, I have no problems even after ten hours.  The price point is palatable, too–two full-sized eyeshadows for $20.

The Glossover

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bareMinerals The Alter Ego Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A+
What makes the formula impressive is the pigmentation; both shades in this duo were intensely pigmented with a soft, smooth texture that was dense and buttery without being so soft it was crumbly or powdery

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Tom Ford Wicked Cheek Color
Tom Ford Wicked Cheek Color

Tom Ford Wicked Cheek Color

Tom Ford Wicked Cheek Color ($55.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a soft raspberry pink with a rosy pink shimmer and sheen. For better or for worse, Tom Ford’s blush range (from the three shades I’ve seen so far) is very core, which means the shades themselves are more basic, so you may have similar shades in your stash already. At the same time, they’re the kind of shades that become go-tos, because they work with a variety of looks. MAC Pink Tea is just a little softer, while MAC Lovecloud is a touch yellower–mix the two together, and you’d get pretty close. Tarte Dollface is lighter, more pastel. MAC Feeling Flush is a hint darker.

More and more, as a reviewer as well as a consumer, I really, really appreciate consistency. I’d rather a consistently poor performing product than one that is sometimes good but other times downright awful–and the very best is when you find a product range that is consistently excellent. Right now, I’m finding this to be true with Tom Ford’s blush range. First with Lovelust, now with Wicked. It has that same soft, smooth, buttery texture that’s dense and ultra finely-milled, so it melts against the skin and looks effortlessly natural. That silky smooth texture enables superior blending–you won’t need to worry about buffing for days; feather-light strokes will gently soften the edges of any application. I love that it can be applied softly or more intensely, but it’s never a shade you have to pack on.

The real reason that I am truly in love with Tom Ford’s blush formula is how well and long it wears. I thought perhaps it was a fluke or restricted to the shade, but Wicked wears a solid ten hours and looks nearly immaculate. I can’t think of a blush that wears longer at the moment! The texture, color, blendability, and wear are all fantastic. I don’t even know if there is room for improvement with the formula–it’s that good.

A little disclaimer or note, as this is a luxury brand and product: each person has their own rationalization process to justify whether something is worth it or not. What is affordable to you may be a luxury for someone else and vice versa. Price never affects quality; it affects whether it’s worth buying to you, but price doesn’t indicate a higher or lesser degree of quality (in an ideal world, it might), which is why the rating system specifically excludes it.

The Glossover

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Wicked

A+

The texture, color, blendability, and wear are all fantastic. I don't even know if there is room for improvement with the formula--it's that good.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Estee Lauder Blackened Cocoa Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner
Estee Lauder Blackened Cocoa Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Blackened Cocoa Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Blackened Cocoa Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner ($20.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a deep, dark brown with warm, red undertones and a matte finish. It delivers good color coverage in a single pass, and it doesn’t pull or tug at the lash line during application. The consistency is creamy and soft, so it glides on easily across the lash line and water line. While some brown eyeliners are a softer alternative to black, the depth of this shade makes it nearly as powerful as a soft black eyeliner. CoverGirl Brown is similar, but not quite as intense.

Estee Lauder has been putting out a lot of new products with impressive formulas, and the Intense Kajal Eyeliner is no exception.  The creamy glide, rich color payoff, and long-wear make this a winner.  It wears five and a half hours on my lower water line but lasts for up to ten hours on my lower lash line–there’s no fading, smudging, or migrating during those ten hours either!

The Glossover

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Blackened Cocoa

A+
Estee Lauder has been putting out a lot of new products with impressive formulas, and the Intense Kajal Eyeliner is no exception. The creamy glide, rich color payoff, and long-wear make this a winner.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, March 19th, 2012

Estee Lauder Blackened Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner
Estee Lauder Blackened Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Blackened Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Blackened Black Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner ($20.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a rich black with a mostly matte finish. It has excellent color payoff in a single stroke. I love how creamy this formula is; it glides on easily, evenly, and delivers full color without having to go back and forth. Despite the creamy consistency, it stays put–it doesn’t smudge, budge, or migrate on the lash line during the day. It doesn’t wear quite as well on the lower water line, but it did hang on for five to six hours.

This deep of a black is not impossible to find, but not every brand makes it. Some notable shades that are going to be similar in depth would be MAC Black Black and Urban Decay Perversion.

The Glossover

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Blackened Black

A+
Blackened Black is a great choice for a rich, intense black eyeliner. The application is really lovely--soft, smooth, and easy to apply without tugging or pulling on the lash line.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Really Black Ink Liner
Bobbi Brown Really Black Ink Liner

Bobbi Brown Really Black Ink Liner ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.) is described as a “jet black.” The formula is supposed to be “highly-pigmented” and “last up to eight hours.” It has a felt-tip applicator that’s very pointed and quite small overall, so precise lining is made easy with this shade. The length of the felt-tip is just right, too, for more precise eyeliner, because it’s not too long, and it has a good stiffness, but still some pliability, to glide across the lash line without tugging. It’s opaque in a single pass, and I love that it doesn’t feel watery at all, as some felt-tip liners can. It’s very, very black in person, but as black liquid eyeliners are wont to do, they will photograph either a little blue or brown, depending on the undertone–Really Black has a brown base.

This wears for at least eight hours–I don’t think it’s really going to budge until you want it to. I lined just above my lash line, across my lid, and then drew a line across my crease, just for kicks, to test the wear out–it was like a checkerboard on my eye. It dries down quickly, and then it’s set. I didn’t have any smudging, budging, or fading over a ten-hour period.

I will admit I’m curious when brands launch products like these: staple, everyday products that don’t already exist in the permanent range. Bobbi Brown launched this with the Neon & Nudes collection for spring, yet it’s a limited edition product.

The Glossover

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Really Black

A+
It's black eyeliner, so there are certainly plenty of dupes available, and it's not the kind of product one has to race out to buy because you don't already have something like it in your launch. It's a great product, and I think it's a product Bobbi Brown needs her in line.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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